Imagine this scenario: You’re agitated because you can’t quite get your head around your personal brand. You don’t have a clue when it comes to all that jargon like brand loyalty or brand extensions. Know the feeling? So here is my Essential Brand Glossary of Terms. (Typical jargon, of course,  but with a twist.)

In Full Disclosure: This is really about getting you to fall helplessly in love with your personal brand. My hope? This will help you embrace the personality, the magic, and the power behind your brand. (Ready?!)

Or, All Good Brands have Heart

You are the vision master of your brand, without a doubt. At the heart of it, you are the beat and soul of your brand, and its driving spirit. The term brand essence refers to the core of your brand and its values.

Ask Yourself: Does your brand have heart and soul? Real people, you know, respond positively to heart and soul because it tells them you’re real too. It’s that simple. Try wearing your heart on your sleeve. Articulate your real spirit and the core essence of who you are so it resonates clearly with your audience. (It’ll hit home, for sure.)

Or, All Good Brands like to Stand Out

Clarity is key here. Why? Being clear about your brand positions you in a different league. It sets you apart from the rest of the pack. What’s more, your world will perceive you through a clearer lens. (This is a critical factor in landing the next job or the next big client.)

Ask Yourself: How much attention have you spent recently on giving your brand absolute clarity? Are you soaring ahead of your competition? (Clue: Brands prefer living out loud. They prefer being at the forefront. You?)

Or, All Good Brands Prefer an Excellent Report Card

As a Brand Auditor myself, I’m talking about a comprehensive, unbiased and systematic evaluation of your brand to assess its ‘pulse,’ vital signs and general overall health. This is about uncovering what your brand is really all about. PS This is the most exhilarating aspect to bringing your brand to life.

Ask Yourself: So when’s the last time you took an unbiased look at your brand strategy, brand story and style of communication? (Are you aware of the invisible clues embedded in your brand? Believe me, there are many clues – whether you know it or not.)

Or, All Good Brands Adore a Champion

If everyone is raving about you, it tells me you have an enthusiastic, loyal, dedicated and supportive fan base. By definition, that makes them your brand champions. Guess what? They’re your best advocates. They’re the ones spreading the word about you, your brilliance, your capabilities and everything you stand for. We all need engaged, committed and passionate brand champions.

Ask Yourself:  How easy do you make it for your tribe of fans to spread the word about you? And, how can you best help your brand champions support you? (Just as importantly, how can you reciprocate and support their efforts? This is a key to your success. This is give and take vs I give/I take. See the difference?!)

Or, All Good Brands Need to Stay On Track

Absolutely, some rules are destined to be broken. Other rules, however, come in handy and do make the world go around. In a nutshell, Brand Guidelines are designed to keep your brand on track, inspired, aligned and motivated.

Ask Yourself: So what kinds of guidelines are in place across your personal brand? Remember, consistency is key. Take a look at everything: From your brand’s positioning, language, design, identity to your strategic guidelines, tone, behavior, attitude, even your brand voice, yes. (Do you know what’s the sound of your brand voice?)

Or, All Good Brands Need a Bit of Shaking Up

You know all those healthy drinks that promise to revitalize you when you’re, say, hung over? Well, if your personal brand is starting to look pale or act listless or bland  (yes, it happens), you might want to think about a bit of brand revitalization. Try looking through a different lens. Take a fresh look at the kind of language you’re using. Rethink exactly what you want to be communicating. What matters to you – and why?

Ask Yourself:  What is your message actually telling your target audience? If eyes are glazing over, it’s time to inject a big healthy dose of energy to refresh your brand. How do you really perceive your brand? (This is not a simple question. It’s not a trick question, either. But perception stands for a lot so spend some time working on this one.)

So are you finding yourself falling madly and helplessly in love with your brand yet?


Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter